Sand miners dig up Valley

2011-02-25 00:00

SAND mining is sprouting up in the Valley of 1 000 Hills and concerns are that it is not being monitored by environmentalists and the areas are not rehabilited after digging.

Seven-time Dusi champion Martin Dreyer said sand mining in the Valley is disturbing the ecosystem in the area.

Dreyer, who has established the Change A Life Academy that trains young men and boys from the Valley in canoeing, said he had noticed large trucks in various parts of the valley where sand is quarried.

“This mining changes the outlook of the valley and what’s more disturbing, it does not seem to be monitored by environmentalists.

“Without being rehabilitated after digging, the beauty of the valley disappears, and only huge holes will be left if this is left unchallenged,” said Dreyer.

He said he had spoken to local residents who approached the Dusi Umgeni Conservation Trust (DUCT) to intervene.

Dreyer said sand mining needs to be controlled and monitored and the landscape needs to be rehabilitate immediately after mining.

DUCT is a Section 21 company championing the preservation of Umsunduzi and Umgeni tivers.

Chairperson Dave Still confirmed that the mining is not regulated.

He said several years ago DUCT approached the Department of Minerals and Energy and offered to help monitor and regulate mining in the valley.

“They were not interested in our help. We requested a listing of all legal mines in the area so as to identify the illegal ones, but they refused to give us the information.

“They said we would have to apply through the Access to Information Act.”

DUCT eventually applied for the information under the Act, only to be told a few months later that its request was unreasonable and the department does not have to comply.

“We have since consulted lawyers and have been adopting a more targeted approach by picking specific mines, and asking the operator or the department to produce the mining permit and their environmental management plan.

“The aim is to apply for interdicts to stop the mining and to have the disturbed area rehabilitated if the papers are not produced,” he said.

DUCT is not against mining per se, but wants it to be properly managed and rehabilitated.

Mineral Resources communications director Zingaphi Jakuja said she is aware of the complaint.

She said she would try to get an official report.

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